After a year in limbo, a segment I helped on has finally been posted on MetroFocus!

In this segment, Megan Thompson, field producer at Thirteen/WLIW21, reports on homeschooling in New York City and talks to two moms, Amy Milstein and Sandra Leong, about their unconventional choice to homeschool.

Last week was back-to-school time for New York City, but for some students, that meant pulling up a chair at the kitchen table, not returning to a classroom. For several thousand city children, school happens right at home.

Across the country, homeschooling is on the rise.  The most recent federal survey reports that between 2003 and 2007, the number of homeschooled students rose 36 percent to 1.5 million. But some researchers say the number is likely closer to 2 million.Once considered a fringe movement, homeschooling is becoming more mainstream in New York.  About 2,550 kids were homeschooled in New York City last year, according to the city’s Department of Education.

While the majority of those represented in the national survey chose to homeschool their kids in order to provide religious or moral instruction, here in New York,MetroFocus has heard from many parents who say they simply think homeschooling is the better way to go.


The trees of the New York Botanical Garden are a treasure of the city. Hurricane Sandy destroyed or damaged 557 trees located across the garden, but the vast majority of the garden’s 30,000 trees are still standing. The trees and their history are documented in a new book of photographs and essays, “Magnificent Trees.”

MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman talks with the author Todd Forrest and the photographer Larry Lederman about the Botanical Garden’s trees. Forrest serves as the Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden.

(via New York Landmark Suffers From Sandy | MetroFocus | THIRTEEN)

What could be more Pinoy than Sisig?

Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz (“The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao”) has this amazing review of New York City Filipino restaurant Maharlika. After reading this, I suddenly remembered that article in Esquire UK about Filipino cuisine and it got me asking if Pinoy cuisine is going mainstream soon. What do you think?

Read the review over at​trofocus/

Maharlika Filipino Moderno
111 First Avenue and Seventh Street
New York City

*Photo by Samantha Celera’s Flickr account

Krazy for Keillor

As host and writer of the radio program A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor knows quite a bit about projecting one’s voice and making announcements. See how he rates the NYC subway’s PA system, and why he might want to broadcast his radio show from a New York cemetery in this interview on MetroFocus. 

He also shares a bit about plans for improvising with the New York Philharmonic on October 16 in celebration of his 70th birthday.  

Watch on

“Treasures of New York: Art Underground” explores MTA Arts for Transit’s initiative to bring permanent art to the subway and commuter railroads.  

Check it out!

MetroFocus is Official.

THIRTEEN Online Pressroom

In early summer, MetroFocus will launch as a website. The launch of mobile applications is planned for late 2011 and production of a related half-hour television program for broadcast on THIRTEEN and WLIW21 is also anticipated. Through strategic partnerships with a wide spectrum of media, cultural and not-for-profit organizations and a team of staff multimedia producers and editors, MetroFocus will offer thoughtful and accessible analysis of local news and meaningful cultural coverage.

NY Times Media Decoder Blog

MetroFocus Website

Job Openings

Bill Bragin: Ok Kidjo!

September 27, 2011 5:05 PMAngélique Kidjo in ConcertWhere: The Grace Rainey Auditorium at the Met Museum
When: Oct. 1, 7:00 p.m.
Price: $55

There are few artists in the world more charismatic onstage than the Benin-born, Brooklyn-based spitfire, Angélique Kidjo. A true global soul as a musician and activist, Kidjo has collaborated with artists from throughout Africa (Youssou N’dour,Gangbe Brass Band); Cuba (Buena Vista Social Club’s Omara Portuando); Brazil (Carlinhos Brown); Europe (BonoPeter Gabriel) and the U.S. (Alicia KeysJohn LegendJosh Groban). She serves as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador and founded the Batonga Foundation to promote education for girls in Africa.

This Saturday night, inspired by the recently opened Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition “Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures,“ she performs in an intimate acoustic collaboration at the Met’s Grace Rainey Auditorium with fellow Benin-born musician guitarist Lionel Loueke. Loueke is a brilliant instrumentalist whose unique fusion of West African and jazz styles has been heard in projects with Herbie HancockGretchen Parlato, and his own Gifelma Trio.

Lincoln Center President Reynold Levy on WNET's MetroFocus

Earlier this week, Reynold Levy, who is stepping down this month as President of Lincoln Center after 12 years, talked about his achievements redeveloping the campus and other notable work on WNET’s MetroFocus. He notes that the changes make Lincoln Center “more energetic, more vital, more multi-lingual and more open…” than ever before. See the full interview here.

My Coney Island Doc Shows On PBS

This week, PBS's Metrofocus broadcast a documentary short I made with a Columbia Journalism School classmate about the Coney Island Lighthouse. That lighthouse was the last in the country to have a civilian lighthouse keeper. The 4-minute short was shown on WLIW, Thirteen, and NJTV.

Check out the segment below. You can also watch the full program here.

Tech Entrepreneur Alexa Hirschfeld of Paperless Post on New York’s tech scene in the next five years:

“If people are still making money on the tech bubble the way they are now, I’m sure New York will find a way to get in on it.”

“MetroFocus: The Tech Economy” premieres on June 26 at 10:30 p.m. on WLIW21; June 27 10:30 p.m. on NJTV; and June 28 at 8:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN. 

[Freelance Reporter/Producer for MetroFocus]

Jon Gerberg and I reported on the coordinated volunteer efforts in Coney Island.

Two weeks after the storm we visited the Coney Island Gospel Assembly Church, which had partnered with the Red Cross, Occupy Sandy and volunteers to help gather and distribute supplies and provide medical services  to residents whose homes have been flooded or live in high rises without heat, electricity or hot water.